Whether you’re trying to lose weight or making modifications to what you eat for health reasons, sticking to a strict diet can be very hard. In the beginning, you might not have the energy to meal prep or have the time to cook a full dinner from scratch. So, in this article, we’ll discuss specifically the Ketogenic (Keto) diet and meals that you can prepare in 20 minutes or less.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The Ketogenic (Keto) diet has grown in popularity over the last few years. Although as far as diets go, Keto is not the easiest one to stick with because of its specifications. Typically, our bodies burn the carbohydrates we eat as fuel, but on Keto, the goal is to eat so low carb that your body starts burning your fat for energy instead. When your body starts to do this process effectively, it’s called ketosis.
Although it’s not as simple as it seems. You need to make sure that you’re supplementing your diet with healthy fat-rich foods since you’re no longer eating a lot of carbs.
Best healthy fat-rich foods for the Keto diet:
- Oils (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil)
- Seeds, nuts, and nut butter
- Fish (tuna)
- Limited amount of dairy (full-fat Greek yogurt, milk, butter, cheese)
Of course, one of the biggest reasons why people try this diet is for weight loss. Carbohydrates are mostly empty calories and can be very addicting. So, once you cut them out of your diet, then you’re substituting them with healthier food. Additionally, when you have more energy, your exercise is likely to increase, which helps with weight loss.
Another benefit of the Keto diet is that it can help with your overall health and possibly improve many medical conditions. Eating healthy fats helps to increase your “good” cholesterol (HDL).
The Keto diet sounds fantastic, and it can be, but it’s also highly restrictive of certain foods and you have to be very careful to watch what you’re eating.
Here are just a few of the common mistakes people make when doing the Keto diet:
- Switching your diet cold turkey. Many people get excited after researching this diet and want to start it right away. They go out and buy all the necessary ingredients to make it work and cut out all the “bad” foods they were eating before. However, this can shock your system and actually do the opposite of what you wanted. So, what can you do? Start small. Maybe pick a meal a day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) to make Keto-friendly over the course of a few days or a week before fully switching over your entire fridge and pantry.
- Not tracking your carbs or accidentally eating too many. Carbs can be found anywhere and if you’re not careful, you’ll accidentally eat too many. Make sure you check how many carbs are in each item of food as you want to eat only between 20-50g of carbs per day depending on how much you weigh and what your goals are.
- Not anticipating the “Keto Flu”. You’re probably wondering what this is. Well, the “Keto Flu” is when your body starts adjusting to a low-carb, high-fat intake and you get flu-like symptoms that might include fatigue, nausea, muscle aches and pains, and more. Some don’t push through these symptoms as they think they won’t get them or that they will persist the entire time they’re on the diet. However, it’s very normal if you experience this and it usually only lasts 1-2 weeks.
- Not staying adequately hydrated. Carbohydrates and water are stored together in your body, so as you decrease your carb intake, you’re naturally going to get dehydrated. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
- Not eating enough nutrient-dense food. Some people get excited about the fact that you can have full-fat dairy, bacon fat, butter, and more tasty foods on this diet. However, you need to enrich your diet with plenty of vegetables, low sugar/carb fruit, healthy fats, and more. Keep track of what you’re eating so that you have a well-rounded diet.
- Eating too much protein. One of the many things you need to keep an eye on while on the Keto diet is how much protein you eat. According to Healthline, “when you eat more protein than your body needs, some of its amino acids will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis. This can become a problem on very low carb, ketogenic diets and prevent your body from going into full-blown ketosis.”
- Not consulting your doctor first. Always, always, always talk to your physician prior to starting anything new, including diets. Your doctor is familiar with all your medical conditions and can advise on whether or not the Keto diet is safe for you. Of course, diets are not a “one size fits all” so make the best decision for your health.
7 lazy minute lazy keto meals
Below is our list of easy keto recipes for you to try.
Note: All of our recipes are created by our in house nutritionist.